Earth Film Festival: “crowd-based” Singapore event a first of its kind

Singapore is set to celebrate Earth Day in a unique way with a crowd-based film festival.

Earth Film Festival is Singapore’s first environmental film festival, and it comes with a twist: it is also a first of its kind in the country, a “crowd-based” film festival where the movies will be screened in private venues by volunteers from the public. 

Slated for 17 to 24 April to celebrate Earth Day (which falls on 22 April), the festival is the brainchild of Canadian teacher Michael Broadhead, who works at the Canadian International School in Singapore.  

Broadhead was also at the helm of last year’s Earth Fest at Marina Barrage. He was inspired by its success and has since been searching for a different way for the public to become involved in the spread of environmental awareness.

We created the Earth Film Festival to give people living in Singapore a chance to participate in Earth Day in a meaningful way by engaging their friends and family with incredibly inspiring documentaries,” Broadhead tells Eco-Business.

 “This [crowd-based festival] gives everyone the perfect opportunity for important and thoughtful conversations that would never happen otherwise,”

Michael Broadhead, Organiser of Earth Film Fest

It is a unique grassroots approach that allows the public to be directly involved in the outreach and the spreading of environmental awareness, as they will be screening the films in the intimate setting of their own homes (or alternatives such as community centre media rooms) with their families and friends as the audience. 

This unconventional method of screening films as part of a wider public campaign has the advantage of audience camaraderie acting as the catalyst for more open discourse, he says.

“Instead of being in a room with hundreds of strangers you have no connection to [as in a conventional festival], you are with people you are close to and care about. This gives everyone the perfect opportunity for important and thoughtful conversations that would never happen otherwise,” adds Broadhead.

Undaunted by the lack of financial support from sponsors, Broadhead garnered help for the festival from several local environmental groups such as ACRES (Animal Concerns Research & Education Society) and Zero Waste SG, who helped to select the films that will be offered at the festival.

Each organisation will also provide a discussion guide - tailored to their chosen documentary - for the volunteer hosts, in order to provide a better understanding of the issue at hand as well as to encourage a fruitful exchange of ideas post-screening. 

The festival offers a selection of six movies from all over the world and each will cover a different issue, such as ”Heart of the Haze“, a Channel NewsAsia production about the haze and forest fires that frequently plague the Southeast Asia region. 

Other films include “Cotton Road“, a searing look at the supply chain that feeds the world’s appetite for fast fashion, and “Home“, a documentary that depicts the link between different ecological and environmental problems around the world with aerial footage from fifty-four countries.

Participants will receive a free digital copy of their preferred film via download or streaming, which will be theirs to keep. There is no cost to host nor to participate.

Even without the benefit of a formal advertising campaign, the festival is already gaining traction. There have been more than fifty registrants who will be screening the movies in private venues for the event, more than halfway past the expected total of a hundred, say the organisers.

And there is still ample time for others to sign up: “Anyone reading this that wants to be part of Earth Film Festival, we welcome you to become a host,” says Broadhead.

“We hope to tap into the power of the crowd and continue to help Singapore become the greenest nation on Earth. Together we can transform our future.”

Follow this link to find out how you can be part of Singapore’s Earth Film Festival.

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